Volunteering to “make sure there is an air ambulance available when people need it”
Despite having a busy career as a Probation Officer Ruth Wilkinson finds time to volunteer for the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA).
She was airlifted by the forerunner to the charity in 2005 and it is her way of “doing my bit to help make sure there is an air ambulance available when other people need it.”
Ruth (37) from Leicestershire knows what a difference having an air ambulance come to the scene of her car crash made to her recovery.
“Being treated by the crew meant I got the urgent critical care I needed at the scene of the accident and was transferred to a Major Trauma Centre as quickly as possible,” she says.
Ruth was airlifted to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham after the car she was driving was involved in a collision in Desford during the morning rush hour when she was on her way to work.
As she was approaching a junction a car pulled out and hit her vehicle on the passenger side. This caused her car to spin and hit a lorry.
Her head went through the car window and hit the lorry with such force that the steps into the driver’s cab fell off.
Ruth was knocked unconscious and had to be cut out of her car. As well as the multiple fractures she sustained to her head, jaw and collarbone, she had cuts on her face and was bleeding from her left ear.
Due to the serious nature of her injuries it was crucial she was treated as soon as possible. Her head injuries were a worry and there was concern about swelling on her brain due to the fractures in her skull.
Ruth suffered Post Traumatic Amnesia following the accident and has lost six days memory of the day of the accident and the following five days.
“What I know about it I have been told by other people. The whole thing is a story to me,” she says.
When she was first taken to hospital she had an operation to insert a plate in her jaw but this didn’t hold so she was readmitted and her teeth were wired together for seven weeks, during which time she was on a liquid-only diet.
After numerous outpatient appointments and assessments over 12 months, Ruth made a full recovery. However, to this day, she has scars on her face and shoulder and a numbness to the right side of her bottom lip.
It took her six months to recover from the fractures she sustained in her skull, jaw and collar bone but as soon as she was well enough she started raising funds for and awareness of the charity in and around Leicestershire.
Since 2008 she has been giving talks, attending cheque presentations and helping at air ambulance events.
In recognition of her commitment to volunteering, she was chosen to represent DLRAA at a Buckingham Palace garden party. She says:
“That was an unforgettable experience and one of the best things that has happened to me since I had my accident. I have amazing memories of a special day which I shared with my best friend.”
“Volunteering is my way of saying thank you. I want to raise awareness of the services provided by the air ambulance and how it is there for everybody. Without it I might not have made a full recovery,” she says.
If you have been inspired by Ruth’s story and would like to find out more on volunteering for your local air ambulance or Children’s Air Ambulance, please click here.